I think I've earned it.
Aretha spoke to us about RESPECT a while back, but it is a concept that dates back to probably the beginning of time. The cavemen while unable to talk to each other, probably had unspoken respect for the dude who killed the biggest mammoth. Respect is a big deal around my house, and it doesn't seem like my wife and I are getting any of it. My kids kind of run the show around here, and I've had enough! I am the Daddy and it's high time I showed them who's boss. Right after I wipe their asses, and make their favorite meals, and basically function as their personal slave. How am I going to get them to respect me when that is the case? Well...I could demand it by being a total drill sergeant. Or, I could beg them for it. Or, I could make them respect me because I am their father(another crazy Star Wars guy reference!) I believe that by basically being their personal slave, I've earned the respect of my children.
Not how it works.
Well, I recently read the November issue of Parents magazine and it had an interesting article about this very subject. The writer, Nicole Caccavo Kear, mentions that after her son started kindergarten he developed an attitude. I thought right away that the exact situation happened here in my house. The article went on to talk about a number of situations and concepts to help kids develop better manners and how we as parents can teach kids manners and respect. Well, what I read made me feel like about the worst parent in the entire world. Everything she mentioned, and she even quoted a couple of Ph.D. in the article, I am not doing. It really gave me a lot to think about in terms of my kids behavior. My kids are not brats by any means, but they can be. As you can see from the picture above, they can be quite perfect from time to time. But while reading this article I felt like crap. Am I a bad parent?
Must be doing something right.
Every day when I pick my little girl up from school, her teacher tells me how well she is doing and how much she appreciates having her in class. Then in about the time it takes us to walk to our van, the switch is flipped and my little girl becomes a whining machine. All of the good behavior she must have exhibited at school, goes right out the window. There are times that my 2 year old son acts like the most perfect little boy in the world, and others when he runs up to his sister and pinches her as hard as he can for no reason! So, while I'm thinking because of what I have read that I'm doing a terrible job of parenting, I think that I must be doing something right. My daughter is well behaved and respectful while in school, so some of what I'm teaching her must be sinking in. Just because I don't always see it, doesn't mean it's not there.
So what I'm going to do is take the article for what it is: someones opinion that I do not know. I'm also going to take the things I found to be helpful and use them to improve my parenting skills, and perhaps earning some respect around here. I know that I'm not a finished product as a parent, just as my kids are not finished products. Will they ever be is the question I find myself asking, but also wondering if my parents are thinking the same thing about me?
So my daughter stayed home from school today and seemed to be doing much better. Then about 15 minutes ago it struck again. The uncontrollable coughing fit. She is now resting on the couch, but I don't see myself getting to sleep in my own bed again tonight. I miss my bed. And my wife. I would do anything in the world to take care of my kids, but I want to sleep through just one night at this point, and wake up next to my beautiful wife. I hope the girl gets better soon.